Raytheon [RTN] has received a $48 million Army contract to integrate and qualify hand-held devices into platform-mounted WiFi systems secured up to the Secret level, the company said on Oct. 7.
Such platforms include the Sikorsky [LMT] UH-60 Black Hawk.
Matt Gilligan, the vice president of Raytheon’s intelligence, information and services business, said the integration would aid communications and collaboration among aircrews and ground forces.
“Right now Black Hawk crews and dismounted soldiers rely heavily on voice communications during a mission, and when dynamics are changing in the air and on the ground minute by minute, that’s a huge challenge,” he said.
The mobile devices are to hold a number of situational awareness and mission planning applications to improve air-to-ground communication and allow combat teams to adapt to changing circumstances, as needed.
Under the contract, Raytheon “will load mission applications on commercial off-the-shelf phones and tablets to allow air and ground users to access and share current weather updates, friendly force trackers, and secure text messages,” the company said.
Raytheon said the $48 million contract is part of the Army’s Air Soldier System (Air SS) to equip helicopter aircrews with wearable electronics that increase mission effectiveness and survivability. Air SS includes an Elbit Systems Common Helmet Mounted Display (CHMD) offering digital, wide field of view, color flat-panel display for aviators flying UH-60s and Boeing [BA] CH-47 Chinooks.
The Tennessee National Guard used Air SS in a recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) exercise, Shaken Fury, Raytheon said.